View Full Version : Animation: Killer Whale/Orca swim test

01 January 2004, 03:46 PM
Saw these great creatures on TV one day, so I decided to make 1 of mine.
sample pic

You can see an animation test, 357Kb, Divx 5.1. (

This is my first attempt to animate something of this sort, so please, if you have any suggestions how to improve it, let me know. Also, if you have any links about fish/whale kinematics, please share them with me...


01 January 2004, 04:39 PM
Looking good.

First off, the Orca is swiming a little fast.

Secondly, the fins on either side don't move. These, in addition to the tail, are the rudders as it were. They'd move in regards to the directions the whale would be going.

Finally, some entourage around the whale in the scene would help the feeling.

It this supposed to be open ocean or a tank?

01 January 2004, 05:20 PM
Hey that's pretty good. I too used a whale as my first sort of animation character (you can check it on my site as I have some shots of the character rig too). But I agree with above: it is swimming a little fast, there should be some secondary movement in the pec fins and even the flukes. Since it's just a test I'll let you get away with the bright, tank like environment. Very cool though.

01 January 2004, 07:44 PM
The orca appears to be swimming a bit too fast indeed, but not that much. These creatures have magnificent power and can swim amazingly fast. In the animation it all seems a bit too graceful. If you can somehow give the impression of water moving it would be more convincing I think.
Having said that, the movement itself is very good. You got the 'hesitation' effect right when the animal moves up. I think if you slow it down and add a little bit of camera movement and wirly water effects to it, the end result could be very realistic! :thumbsup:
If you want to keep this speed though, then increase the number of movements of the tail, maybe. Only two weeks ago I went to a dolfinarium and the speed and power of these creatures is amazing. As a kid I saw an orca too in the same dolfinarium (I believe they set it free many years ago) and it was awesome :D

PS. Watch the amazing BBC series "The Blue Planet". It's for sale on DVD and well worth the money. It's got orcas in several episodes and after seeing them you understand why they're called "Killer Whales"! They're no sweeties.... :eek:

01 January 2004, 07:58 PM
Texture: Don't forget about the "saddle". It is the white patch behind the dorsal fin. It's usually not as bright white as the other markings.

Check out this site;

This is one of the leading artist for marine life. He has a good image of an Orca and a pup. Could be nice for some reference

01 January 2004, 01:28 AM
Thanks for the interest and comments.

I've calculated the speed, if the Orca is five meters long, it travels horizontally 18 meters in two seconds, and 9m/s is 32.4 km/h or 17.5 knots, if i remember that correctly. I'm sure it can swim that fast. So, maybe the vertical amplitude or the number of tail movements give the unrealistic speed impression...

As for the movement of the fins, I did not check, but I dont see how it could help in forward motion. I'm guessing that they could bend backwards for a more hydrodynamic shape. I made all this from memory, and I'll check the links you guys mentioned.

As for the enviroment, I was aiming for the calm ocean water. I saw a number of similar enviroments on various TV programs these days, the water can be pretty bright when the sun is high and the camera is not too deep. I think I will lower the light intensity from the bottom and maybe darken the fog a little.

For the texture, it has the white marks on the back, they are not visible from this angle, I may need to enlarge them.

P.S. For the "Killer Whales" part Skyraider3D was talking about, on that show that inspired me to make this, they said that there are populations of these animals that eat only fish and populations that eat other mammals, (whales, dolphins, sea lions). They even speak different dialects and don't mix in any way. Kinda spooky... :)

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 05:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.